Former Union president Robert Brown dies

Robert Brown ’40, Huntington, W.V., died Feb. 12, 2013, at age 97. He was born Aug. 27, 1915, in Sioux Falls, S.D., the eldest child of Harry and Isabelle Ross Brown.

He worked in a broom factory while earning a degree in physics from Union College. Later he completed a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Washington. During World War II, Bob was employed by the Sylvania Electric Co. to do research on proximity-fused artillery, radar and secure radio communication. He also worked for the U.S. Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, where he received a Superior Accomplishment Award while developing a precursor to sonar.

From 1945 to 1960, he worked as a physics professor at Canadian Union College and Walla Walla College. After 12 years as a physics department chairman, he moved into college administration and served as dean of administration, vice-president and acting president of Walla Walla College. He became president of Union College in 1970 and served until 1973 when he became the director of the Geoscience Research Institute for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. After retirement in 1980, he continued for eight years as a GRI senior research scientist.

He was trained in radioisotope techniques at the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies; and is the author of over 20 published articles and technical papers on radiometric dating, as well as many other articles. Bob met his wife, Frances Miler ’40, at Union College, and they married on May 26, 1942. He is survived by his wife; his daughter, Judith Silver; four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his siblings and by his daughter, Becky Morrison.

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